“Days of our Lives” fans were shocked when the series killed off Abigail Deveraux DiMera in recent episodes, spurring a summer murder mystery storyline with several suspects in the running as the culprit, some more obvious than others.
Following an interview with head writer Ron Carlivaiti last week where he explained the show’s reasoning for killing the character off, portrayer Marci Miller is now speaking out in a candid interview with Soap Opera Digest in the magazine’s newest issue, on newsstands now, where she shares why she decided to leave the series, what’s next for her and her career, and what she’ll miss the most.
“I like to do other things,” Miller says to Digest. “I like to dabble in other things like films and play other characters. I’m not really at a point in my life where I’m ready to say, ‘Hey, I’m going to play Abby DiMera for 20 years, and that’s what I’m going to do.’ It’s really hard for the show to accommodate that and make space for that.”
Revealing how she’s had to decline other acting opportunities due to being on contract at “DAYS,” Miller notes, “There were a couple of times last year where I was offered a couple of films that I’d auditioned for and unfortunately had to turn them down after I’d worked to get them because the show couldn’t accommodate.” She points out, “The show wasn’t doing anything wrong. You sign a contract, they buy your time, and that’s the gig. They’ve got things they need to do, too. Since I can’t make both [work] I have to pick and choose as I go through various chapters in my life. That was it. I was like, ‘Okay, I’ve got to go. It’s time to go do some other things for a while.”
Miller offered to continue playing the character but only in a recurring capacity. “I was interested in and willing to recur and make space for that,” she states. “I don’t think they felt that was going to work for them. They couldn’t do the recurring thing with that particular character, and I think they felt like if they let me do it, they would have to let everybody do it. We tried to meet in the middle. They tried to give me options, but my team and agents didn’t dig it. So it was hard. We couldn’t find common ground that worked for both of us, unfortunately. We all wanted to.”
As noted by Carlivati in conversation with Digest in a previous issue, the show needed an actress full-time and on contract for the role. Pointing out that with Miller unavailable, and previous portrayer Kate Mansi only willing to play the character part-time as well, the only option from the show’s perspective was to kill off the character.
“Kate has been willing to come back, but may not necessarily want to come back on contract, so you risk being in the exact same position that then Kate leaves and what do we do?” questioned Carlivati. “Then the option would be to recast yet again with someone who maybe is willing to be here on a more permanent basis, but then you’re dealing with a new face. We’ve been very lucky in recasting Abigail, but you don’t always know if that’s going to work. So ultimately, we decided to kill the character.”
While Miller would have preferred that the show recast instead, ultimately the decision was made and Miller played the character’s final moments alive. As word of the character’s demise trickled throughout the studio, some of Miller’s co-stars were shocked to learn what was about to happen on the show, including Deidre Hall (Marlena Evans) who Miller says commented to her, “‘I feel like somebody really died here.’”
Meanwhile, one of the things Miller will miss most is working alongside Billy Flynn who plays Abby’s husband, Chad DiMera. “I love to work with Billy; I expect to work with him for the rest of my life, whether it’s as Chad and Abby or somebody else.”
To read more about what Miller has to say about her “Days of our Lives” exit, check out the latest issue of Soap Opera Digest, on newsstands now. You can also hear her speak with the magazine’s editors in the latest edition of the “Dishing with Digest” podcast.
This year, Miller is up for the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her portrayal of Abby. She was previously nominated in the same category in 2018 and 2019.